Book Corner

Newly Discovered

April/May 2018

So, it is time for some quick reviews while I attempt to catch up from my regrettable long delay updatting.

Favorite:
"The One"- The general premise of a blood test to find your soulmate is fantasy that probably isn't too far removed from future reality.  It is believable. The triumphs and pitfalls of those that take the test are not only well written but so overly realistic it's easy to imagine people you know having the same reactions as the characters.
 
Least Favorite:
"The Woman in the Window"- First let's start by saying it wasn't a bad book.  I had some expectations that affected my view.  Working at the library I noticed this book had an amazingly long hold list for months on end, which made me curious as to the hype.  Put myself on the list, waited a few months for my copy, and finally got to read it.  Again, it wasn't bad but I don't think it was months of being on hold great.  Now it had a good twist at the end but it was just a little overshadowed by some other good books I've read and the overly robust hype.
The rest shown were mostly middle of the pack reads. Not too bad overall.

The Patterson books were quick reads, good if you are looking for an easy time killer.

"The Wife Between Us", "The Broken Girls", and "The Bad Daughter" were all good thrillers.  Each had some great plot twists and high points, so any would be a good read if you get around to it.

Newly Discovered

February/March 2018

​Novellas/Shorter Novels

​Novels

As you can see, I have been doing quite a bit of reading lately. So these “Newly Discovered” additions will be quick review. 
  About half of the books in sections have been novella-esque. Around 200 pages for most of these here.  Seems to be a bit of a trend lately.      
  So, the good- “Final Girls” by Mira Grant. This was the best out of the group. It is about a radical and controversial psychological treatment, which caught my psych degree eye. The action and descriptive details were good, but the end didn’t really have much closure for me. But this also seemed intentional, so that in itself gave the book a good cliffhanger.

  The could have been better- Sarah Pinborough’s “Wicked” trilogy (the picture of three books together). These are re-tellings of fairy tales that are definitely not the Disney versions.  She does a brilliant job tying multiple fairy tales together in unexpected ways, and they are fairly easy reads.  Some characters and loose ends could have been a littler neater and more developed. But I would read more of these from her.
  I had “Annihilation” on my reading list, and when I saw they were making a movie I decided to bump it up the list.  I honestly don’t know how I feel about this one. It was widely descriptive and very vague.  Fast-paced, while not a lot happened.  I’m not scrambling to find the second of the trilogy but not regretting reading it.  The series seems like one where you either love the style or hate it. 

  Last, and a bit least- I don’t usually post books that I didn’t like.  Just the good ones usually make it into this section.  I just was disappointed with this one.  The premise sounded so new and innovative- people drinking shadows as recreational narcotics.  I just never felt “hooked”.  I feel like this one would have been better as a novel.  So much seemed to be left out, it almost felt like reading an excerpt instead of a book.
  The multiple Points-of-View- Hearne’s “A Plague of Giants” has a unique twist on multiple povs. The story is told by a historian/scribe who is transcribing the performances of a storyteller, with the ability to transform himself into the characters whose story he is telling. Sounds confusing, but is actually pretty clever and different.  There are a lot of characters in this book, but the high page count (over 600) gives each of them their time.  This is a fantasy novel with some interesting abilities and races.  It is the first of at least 3 books, I believe, and this first one is used for both backstory of characters and setting up the action and drama that will be in the upcoming books.  It’s not dry history, there is a good bit of action and drama, but a lot of information is in book one.
   “The Blinds” and “Blood Sisters” each follow multiple people as well. “The Blinds” follows a few people living in a secluded, desert “town” that houses criminals and witnesses who have been wiped of their memories and placed in the middle of nowhere. The action is packed in only a few days and the twists and resolutions are well done. “Blood Sisters” follows two women with a past that is beginning to catch up to their present in unexpected and unpleasant ways. The bits and pieces of the puzzle are revealed in sporadic, unexpected ways through most of the novel. Yet, the trickle becomes a wave by the end of the novel and the resolution comes swiftly and ends with an interesting, full-circle type feeling.

  The multiple generations- “A Secret History of Witches” gives an inside look at the lives of 5 generations of women.  Full of mother-daughter love and tensions, the usual dramas and misunderstandings that come with relationship are further complicated by learning the gifts of their coven and line, and the danger from literal witch hunts. Each section of the book follows a different daughter as their magic moves from mother to daughter.  

  The simple thriller- Now a good thriller, like these, are nothing close to simple.  The structure for these two are simpler than the other books here that jump around- like many do nowadays. “The Second Sister” follows the “second sister”, the sister trying to find her missing older sister, or at least answers to what happened to her.  Murdered, missing, runaway? Until the end you don’t really know exactly which is the real answer.  The plot and twists are well done and flow nicely.  I never felt comfortable enough in my guess for “who-dun-it” either, another sign of a good thriller.
  "Copy Cat" is another that kept me guessing.  This was a good quick read, and the culprit, and their motive, were not easily guessed.  It also shows exactly how easy it can be for someone to pretend to be you online- and how hard it can be to counter-act that deception.

Newly Discovered

January 2018

“Year One”- Nora Roberts

  Think of a post-apocalyptic author.  I bet you didn’t think of Nora Roberts.  Think about magical powers, magical creatures, and demons.  If you read her works, now you may have thought about Nora Roberts. Maybe.  Now imagine them together, and you get the first book I have finished this New Year.
  I love the Nora Roberts trilogies/series where she mixes mythology or fantasy into the stories. They are my favorites from her. I have some others listed in posts below. And this has all of that but the apocalyptic setting makes it different from her other works.  I’m sure those of you that don’t like romance novels have avoided her works.  This one is different.  Does it have some love story lines? Yes.  Is it a romance novel? No. 
  I highly recommend this one.  This is the first book of a series and unfortunately there isn’t any information for the next one out yet.  This is a brand new one for her.  Now it’s a waiting game. Her usual time between books in a series is around a year, which I sincerely hope doesn’t happen this time.

Newly Discovered

December 2017

  Thrillers are the name of the game right now.  This was a quick read with some good twists and red herrings.  Bell does a good job of spacing out his twists and clues, so that just when you think you can start to figure it all out a new piece of information makes you rethink.  On a side note, I think he does a good job capturing various family/ teen dynamics.  A little reality that was well written. I’ve got another of his books on my “To Read” list that sounds pretty good too.   

“Bring Her Home”-
David Bell


”Crossing the Lines”- Sulari Gentill

  A book about an author, writing about an author, writing about an author. It is a serious circle, and hard to explain.  The main character is writing about an author, and their author in turn writes about them. And that is part of the draw. Gentill’s story has two characters, both writers, who are writing about each other.  I will say at the end I’m not really sure which one was the “fictional” character and which was the intended main character. Lines were crossed and blurred and ignored.  It had some loose ends for me but that was probably intended because of the nature of the indistinct character lines.

Newly Discovered

November 2017

"Gather the Daughters"- Jennie Melamed

  I have two more coming in the next week but I wanted to get this one on here.  This book has been on hold at the library for quite a few people before and after me (I had to return it for at least two others waiting). 
  Keep in mind, this is a fiction book, in a dystopian version of this world.  And not dystopian in a science-fiction way.  And it has a subtle, yet not so subtle political, human rights message.  It is in no way what I expected and the run-on description I just gave shows that.
  Now, I'm not very political and don't say much about it.  The topic of this book is a very important issue about the rights of women and female children.  What got me about this book is the way the issue was built within the story.  It is bits and pieces.  The rights, and humanity, and lack of humanity build and come to light like the clues and twists in a crime novel or thriller.  The more it all clicks, the more the true horror is revealed.  This is fiction.  But important fiction.
   I don't want to give any spoilers but I have to warn people too.  It has some very sensitve content.  It may not be overly, explicitly detailed but the meaning and subject are not subtle.  It is the entire point of the story actually.  Please be warned.  It is an important book, with an important spotlight on some major issues, but not for those who may have a painful past.

Newly Discovered

October 2017

"The King's Blood" and
"The Tyrant's Law"
- Daniel Abraham

"Fierce Kingdom"- Gin Phillips

These are books two and three of the "Dagger and the Coin Series" (book one was "Dragon's Path" below).  So, I predicted that the goddess and dragons would play a greater part in later books and in way I was right. These elements are still less physically present and more a looming presence.  I've got book four ready to be checked out and book five on its way.  (I've had to interlibrary loan 3-5 ugh.)
I had been waiting on the hold list at my local library for awhile for this one, as it is a semi-new release.  I found it to be a quick read and it did have some good  suspense.  However, I did feel like there were a few loose ends.  There were a few aspects that I would have liked to find out the resolution or some closure.  It was good overall.

Newly Discovered

September 2017

"Hook's Tale: Being the Account of an Unjustly Villianized Pirate Written by Himself"- John Leonard Pielmeier

"The Dragon's Path"- Daniel Abraham

"Behind Closed Doors"- B. A. Paris

Don't you hate it when you know the truth, but no one believes you?  Poor Hook, (or as he explains James Cook), knows the feeling.  Someone even wrote a play about him that was all wrong.  This book, written by the pirate himself, sets the record straight.  The retelling of fairytales has been a growing trend and this short narrative fits right in.  It has a few plot lines that I think could have been expounded upon.  Like I said, it was a little on the shorter side so it could have used a little more story.  But overall, it was an interesting take on a classic we all know.
I checked this out of library for two reasons.  1- I had checked it out before but never got the chance to read it last time before it had to go back, so I tried again.  And 2- A lot of the books I have been reading lately have been murder/mystery books.  It has been the genre trend of the last year and my "to-read" list reflected that.  But I love fantasy works and have been looking for a new series to get back into fantasy.  This is the first book in a five book series (I just checked out the second) and has all the elements of fantasy.  It has a foreign land, different races, magic, and allusions to more fantastical elements (a powerful goddess and a world of yore ruled by dragons).  The last two have been subtle aspects, but I have a feeling they are going to come into play in a much more overt way throughout the series. 
I scored with this one.  It was on my "to-read" list and my sister just happened to buy it.  So I didn't have to spend money to buy it or spend time waiting to check it out.  I have a BA in Psychology and love anything labeled as a psychological thriller. I blew through it in about 6 hours (I stayed up until 1 am finishing it but that's beside the point.)  When you read the blurb on the back and the first chapter or so, you think you have an idea what is going on "Behind Closed Doors".  But I bet you won't quite get it right on the first guess.  Something is going on, but it's more twisted than you think.  The only issue I had with it was that the backstory of the antagonist was a little underdeveloped for me.  It read like it was thrown in as an afterthought.  I would have liked it fleshed out a little more.

Newly Discovered

August 2017

"Don't Breathe a Word"- Jennifer McMahon

"Little Deaths"- Emma Flint

"The Dry"- Jane Harper

So, I picked up a third McMahon book.  This one is a literal fairy tale.  It follows the same format as the others- the story jumps between characters and time frames.  Though I have to say this one didn't quite hold my interest as strongly as the others.
   Some fiction from Down Under.  This Australian based novel takes place over the course of around a fortnight and decades in the past all at the same time.  But this mystery is done a little differently than some ofthe others I have been reading lately.  The events in the past are written within the story- in italics- and woven throughout, while the story never officially leaves the present.  The story holds out some vital info until then end, which makes for a good end, though one of the storylines doesn't get enough of a solid resolution in my opinion.
  I've seen this book as a must read in a few places.  And I must say I'm glad I decided to see what all the fuss was about.  This who-dun-it, was it really the mom, had its share of familiar figures- the determined veteran cop, rookie reporter, seeminly obvious bad guys, and a pretty good plot twist at the end.

Newly Discovered

July 2017

"Missing Pieces"- Heather Gudekauf

"Don't You Cry"- Mary Kubica

I have been seeing this book all over the place and recommended by multiple people.  So, I checked it out from the library and wanted to see what all the hype was about.  I found that I didn't see the end of the mystery coming.  It also did a good job of mixing two storylines from two different characters.  However, bits of the middle seemed to drag a little for me personally, though the end had a little more action and resolution than I antcipated.
I've started a bit of a mystery novel streak.  This book has been on my list for a while and I finally found it in my local library.  This had a steady pace and worked alot of plot and action over only a few days, which was impressive.  I guessed the bad guy correctly about half-way through but that could just be me.

"The Winter People"- Jennifer McMahon

I can't remember where I found McMahon.  All I know is I had these two books written on my list of books to read. And I'm so glad I did.  These follow multiple characters and switch times as well.  This book switches between periods over 100 years apart but has unexpected connections between the times and characters.

"The Night Sister"- Jennifer McMahon

These books are mystery/supernatural/thrillers.  But the supernatural aspect is not really in your face so its not overly fantastical.  This one takes place over a smaller span of years so the charater list is a bit smaller.  I already have another one of her stories on hold at my local library.

Newly Discovered

May/June 2017

"Midnight Bayou"- Nora Roberts

"No One Knows"- J.T. Ellison

"Sting"- Sandra Brown

A little romance, a little family drama, and a little ghost story.  This isn't a new one of hers but it is one that I haven't read before.  I like her romances because there is usually something a little extra to them, a little supernatural, and I personally like fantasy elements in stories.  Reincarnation and ghosts fits that element pretty well.  I know someone from around that area in Louisiana so this caught my attention and I was treated to some New Orleans charm.
I like romance, fantasy, and thrillers. The cover for this one even has "A Thriller" under the title. And this one had some twists to it.  Some of the twists simply added a layer of complexity to the the story, while others kept you guessing abou how it would all end.  This follows mutiple people and also jumps between past and present.  I seem to be reading a lot of books like that lately.  I sense a trend going on, but as some of my stories do that too I undrstand the appeal.  And it is based where I now live so that was a cool thing for me.
  I will admit that romance can sometimes have some predictable "twists".  I expect that sometimes, and this one did have some of this.  But I like Sandra Brown for the reason that she comes up with some incredible plot twists and unexpected villians or details.  And this one had that in my opinion.  Wait for it is all I'll say.

Newly Discovered

April 2017
"The Girl on the Train"- Paula Hawkins

"Shattered Glass"- Maria V. Snyder

  So,  I'm an old-fashioned reader.  I prefer a tangible copy of a book.  While I see the ease of access for an ebook, and I do think they are a great reading solution for some, there is just something about a material book to me.  And I don't like screens for that long.
  That being said, this novella was only available as an ebook.  I have featured this series by Snyder a few times and needed to read this short story before reading the next book in a series.  So while I was annoyed I couldn't purchase it for my shelf, no way was I missing it and borrowed it from my grandmother (who actually reads them too).  I'm glad I did because Snyder packed her usual attention to detail and great storytelling into a quick adventure. 
  I am that person who has to read the book before watching the movie adaptation.  I had seen the trailer for the movie and it looked good so I picked up the book as well.  Funny enough, it was then recommended to me by a co-worker shortly after.  It was a good read, had a few good twists to it.  It follows a couple different people that are connected and skips between past and present.  But it is pretty easy to follow.  Hawkins has another book that just came out and I am planning to give that one a try as well.

Newly Discovered

December 2016/January 2017

"Envy"- Sandra Brown

"Animal Farm" and "1984- George Orwell

  I have said before that I read alot of different things from a variety of genres.  You usually get a nice mix with Sandra Brown books, as a lot have not just romance, as some think, but usually murder, mystery, or action in some combination.  This one had all of that with the added layer of being a book about a writer, with their story written witin the story itself.  Some people can't have one good story going on, much less two in one!
So, I made it a point to read more classics (See Ray Bradbury below).  Both of these were on my list of works.  Now, some may be aware that some political happenings have made these books popular again.  I merely saw this dual copy in my local bookstore, before they picked back up in popularity, and thought "Score! Two books, One purchase!"  I won't say anything other than that these classics are worth a read. I like Animal Farm  a little better personally, but they both make you think.

Newly Discovered

October/November 2016

"Heroes, Gods, and Monsters of Celtic Mythology"- Fiona Macdonald

These past few months have been a little different for me.  Many of the books/stories I have been reading are connected to a project.  I am researching some things for a new story and have been brushing up on my Celtic Mythology, specifically from Ireland.  I felt like this book was a good recommendation for anyone who is interested in history, mythology, or fantasy.  It covers stories from all of the Celtic regions of Europe and is a good read.

Newly Discovered

August/September 2016

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child"- J.K. Rowling

"Only the Stones Survive"-
Morgan Llywelyn

Yes, I am a Harry Potter  fan.  A serious, know-all-the-trivia, fan.  So of course I pre-ordered this book and read it in an afternoon.  Personally, I loved it.  The mix of old and new characters creates a fresh perception of the series.  The fact that it is a play gives you the chance to follow and understand the actions of each character and weaves together the Harry Potter events you know and a new era of young wizarding antics. 
I found this in my library's new fiction section.  I am doing research for a story I want to write that includes elements of Irish mythology and creatures.  This novel is based around the race of gods and godesses in this mythology.  I wanted to get an idea of how to incorporate legend, without copying legend or making it boring.  I got what I was looking for, and also was treated to a beautifully written story about a magical race and the land they love.

"Last to Know"- Elizabeth Adler

Since I enjoyed the first book of hers I read I looked for another.  Last to Know  is a murder-mystery and then some.  It follows multiple people like the the last book, and also manages to include love, family, envy, illiegal activities, and multiple murders.  I am looking for more of Adler's books to read, they are quick-paced, quick reads.

Newly Discovered

June/July 2016

"The Story of Kullervo"- J.R.R. Tolkien

"Please Don't Tell​"- Elizabeth Adler

A lesser known, early work of Tolkien's.  This is a singular story that is a sort of precursor to Turin's story in the Children of Hurin. ​The story itself was never completely finished by Tolkien.  The version I have includes the story, as completed as best as possible from notes, and supplemental materials about the work and Tolkien. 
Both this and the Tolkien story were impulse buys.  And this one is a murder mystery set in the real world, removed from the fantasy of Tolkien.  A serial killer is on the loose and all of the characters involved get their own sections, to move the story along and draw you in.  This story has a police investigation, family drama, suspense, love stories, and- of course- murder.  It isn't fantasy, but very real and more suspensful for it.

Newly Discovered

April/May 2016

"The Ridge"- Michael Koryta

"Black Rabbit Hall"- Eve Chase

"The Widow"- Fiona Barton

This is like two books wrapped into one.  It follows two women and their connection to a place called Black Rabbit Hall, bouncing between the two women and their times.  Both stories are intriguing on their own, work well side by side, and are shocking when they mix.  This is Eve Chase's first novel and it makes a strong start for her career.
This book is a crime thriller that starts after the crime, but then takes you through the crime and beyond.  The story is told with different chapters being dedicated to different characters. All are involved in the crime investigation in some way, including the title's Widow.  It goes back and forth between different years and days.  But it never shifts away from captivating. 

*Spoiler (sort-of)* I will say this, the crime is against a child, so those of a more sensitive disposition may want to steer clear, but it is not graphic either.
Discover the best $1 I have spent in a while.  I got this from the Dollar Store for a trip to visit my grandparents.  What I really got was a mysterious, supernatural, crime investigation adventure.  An unlikely group is faced with an evil they don't understand... in a spooky woods... surrounded by killer, big cats.  You don't find a book with that combination everyday.

Newly Discovered

February/March 2016

"Touch of Power"- Maria V. Snyder

"This Census-Taker"- China Mieville

"The Blizzard"- Vladimir Sorokin

Another new novella.  After reading the description for it, I was expecting an action packed, horror story.  I mean, the description includes zombies.  What I read had action and horror in a more mental capacity.  No less interesting and gripping.  If you enjoy quick reads, both in length and feel, it is a good read.  If you are put off by the horror description and zombies, read it any way.  It isn't what you would expect at all.
A recently released novella, this book gripped me.  It grabbed me enough, that I sat and read it cover to cover in one night.  Told by a man reflecting on his childhood, the reader is treated to adult descriptions and observations, paired with the fear of a child in a terrifying situtation.  I found this book randomly while scrolling through the new releases on the Barnes and Noble website. It sounded interesting and turned into a great find.
After reading the newest book in her Chronicles of Ixia Series, I was hungry for more.  So I went back and read another trilogy of Snyder's I hadn't gotten too before.  Her Healer's Series involves a new world, new characters, new powers, and new enemies.  The series begins with action and never lets up!  Touch of Power is the first in the series and is depicted below.  Again, lots of different covers to look out for.

Newly Discovered

January 2016

"Stars of Fortune"- Nora Roberts

Another great book by Nora Roberts.  And what seems to be the beginning of another great trilogy.  I really enjoy the trilogies she writes that are more supernatural romance than straight-up romance.  This series really fits the bill, as it features supernatural forces of both good and evil and an ancient quest to find the lost Stars of Fortune.  Stars made by goddesses.  Only the first one in the trilogy is out so far, but the second comes out this year.  Plenty of time to start with the first one.

"Fahrenheit 451"- Ray Bradbury

"Poison Study"- Maria V. Snyder

Ok, so here is another book that is not a new discovery.  However, there is a new book in this series, "Night Study", coming out this month (I already pre-ordered).  I  recommend this series for any one who enjoys a little bit of magic, a little bit of romance, and a lot of trouble and adventure.  This first book involves poison (obviously), secrets, and plots.  It is classified as a YA series, and I actually started it in high school.  But I couldn't imagine not reading more about these characters as even more books came out.  The book coming out this month is the second book of a third, connected trilogy.  I suggest checking out the author's website for reading order and info.
FYI these books have ALOT of different covers so don't be alarmed if it looks different.
During a seasonal stint as a bookseller in my local Barnes and Noble, it seemed as if every high school student was coming in and looking for this book.  Now, I never had it as a required book in school, and decided to go back and read this classic.  It ended up really resonating with me.  For any lovers of literature who have not read this book.  READ IT!  In a world of dwindling interest in literature, especially classic works of literature, as many people as possible should read this book.

Newly Discovered
October/November 2015

"The Damned"- Andrew Pyper

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"- J. K. Rowling

I discovered this shortly before Halloween.  Considering it includes demons, ghosts with grim purposes, and the afterlife, it fit the bill for a good October read.
I haven't recently discovered the Harry Potter series. I have read it about three times and count it as one of my favorites.  However, start to read it to a younger sibling, as I have recently begun to do, and you may re-discover why you loved it.  I know I have.
 

"The Smoke Thief"- Shana Abe

I found this in my local library.  Unsure what to read next I decided to start at "A" and see what caught my eye.  Evidently I didn't get far. The first in Shana Abe's "Drakon" series this book (and the rest of the series) has a little something for anyone.  Danger, Romance, Legends, and a race of people with the ability to turn into smoke and dragons.  Yes, DRAGONS. 

Old Favorites

The Alex Cross Series- James Patterson

"The Hobbit"- J.R.R. Tolkien

"Alanna- The First Adventure"- Tamora Pierce

Prelude to "The Lord of the Rings" (another good series) and one of his most well known works, Tolkien's "Hobbit" introduces a new world, full of creatures, races, and adventures that enage the imagination.
This series centers around a DC cop, Alex Cross.  A law-and-order thriller, with murder mystery, and the trials of balancing work and family.  Each book builds off of the previous, while having twists, villians, and plotlines all it's own.
A gift from my grandmother as a kid, I knew nothing about this book before reading it.  I had never even heard of it before. Over the course of the next few years I would proceed to read the entire series, 3 quartets and a two book set.  This book is for teens (or anyone) who enjoy fantasy adventures in other worlds with imaginative characters and creatures.  And any girls, like myself, should love the strong heroines who centered these books, lady knights, wild mages, and spies, among other occupations.

"The Monster At The End Of This Book"

Nora Roberts

You never forget your favorite books as a kid.  For me, one was Grover not quite realizing HE was the monster at the end of the book.
Don't forget the romance.  I have read quite a few of her books, from the straight-up love story to Irish witches fighting an ancient, evil enemy (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy is one I highly recommend),

Your Favorites

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